PAYSON -- Thanks to a donation of 10 acres from Payson city along with Farmland Reserve, the real estate arm of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the veterans' nursing home, which was originally planned for a location in Spanish Fork, is back on the drawing board with plans to be officially completed in early 2013.
"We at the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs are deeply appreciative to both Payson city and Farmland Reserve for this donation," said Dennis McFall, deputy director with the Utah Department of Veterans Affairs and project director for construction of the facility. "This is a major piece to have donated and because of it we still have our funding preserved."
The facility will be constructed using 35 percent state funds, which have already been set aside by the Utah Legislature for this purpose, and 65 percent federal funds. The Payson facility will create approximately 140 full-time jobs and have an annual payroll of between $3 million and $4 million.
The veterans' nursing home will be constructed using the same basic model as the recently completed Ogden nursing home. The facility will incorporate the VA's culture change concept, which is moving the direction of the facility away from the stereotypical nursing home set-up.
"The nursing home will follow the new approach that the VA has taken toward long-term care," McFall said. "The facility will look more like townhomes or an assisted living facility."
The nursing home will be approximately 100,000 square feet with nine 12-bed housing units. There also will be a central administration building, which will house the dietary staff, the kitchen, a laundry and linen room, a multi-purpose chapel and a physical therapy room.
"Each of the 12 rooms will be private resident rooms with their own bath and shower," McFall said. "Each resident house will have a dining area for the residents to use."
The next step for the project will be the construction proposals. Bids will be accepted for the next two weeks for construction of the facility and then meetings will be held to determine who will complete the job.
The purpose of the nursing home is to provide housing for veterans in Utah County and the surrounding counties.
"The nursing home will cover about six or seven counties in central Utah," McFall said. "There are between 22,000 and 26,000 veterans in these counties."
In a state-owned veterans home, the VA will pay for nearly one half the cost of care for the resident. If a veteran has a VA disability rating of 70 percent or greater, 100 percent of the cost will be paid by the VA.
"This nursing home will benefit so many of our veterans who currently have no where to go because they cannot afford a skilled nursing facility," McFall said.
And with the VA following a new model for long-term care, the veterans who live at the facility and are able to get out will have the opportunity to be involved in the community.
"The veterans will be attending community events and will be out and about in the community," McFall said. "The facility will be welcoming visitors and volunteers, giving locals the opportunity to get to know our veterans. A number of these individuals have great stories to tell and many of them have no family. We are looking forward to the difference that volunteers can make in the lives of our veterans."